Like mezcal, Raicilla is distilled from the agave plant. Most Raicilla is produced in the southwestern portion of the Mexican state of Jalisco. The main agaves used for Raicilla are the large Agave maximiliana (sometimes called Lechugilla), several wild varieties of Agave angustifolia (such as Chico Aguiar), Agave rhodacantha (local varieties, such as Amarillo, of the “Dobadaan” used in Oaxaca), and Agave inaequidens (also used to make mezcal in nearby Michoacan), called Bruto because its sap irritates the human skin.
In 2019, Raicilla received its Denomination of Origin. The Raicilla DO states that Racilla can be produced within 16 municipalities within the state of Jalisco and one in the state of Nayarit. The DO also specifies which types of agaves species can be used to produce Raicilla. There are two main types of Raicilla which are determined by the production region and agave type. “Raicilla de la Costa” is made with Angustifolia Haw and Rhodacantha while “Raicilla de la Sierra” is produced with Maximiliana and Inaequidens.